A Government report leaked to Greenpeace shows the public is being misled over the effectiveness of video cameras used to police the fishing industry.
A Ministry of Primary Industries internal document says the new surveillance cameras installed on commercial fishing boats aren’t up to the task of checking on snapper size.
Under the law commercial fishers are allowed to discard snapper smaller than 25 cm in length.
The MPI and its Minister, Nathan Guy, previously went on record saying the video cameras can be used to make sure fishing fleets are legally compliant, and when they are not, footage can be used to prosecute the fishing companies.
However the report obtained by Greenpeace directly contradicts this claim. It says the camera footage is not up to standard for compliance and cannot be used as evidence for prosecutions.
“This is yet another blow to the credibility of MPI as a fishing regulator,” says Greenpeace executive director Russel Norman.
The MPI report states the cameras cannot accurately measure the exact size of the snapper says Dr Norman. They’re not fit for purpose.
This means they won’t be any use in many court actions over fish dumping by commercial fishers.
“It’s a shambles. The Minister and the Government have claimed that video monitoring will solve the widespread practice of illegal fish dumping in the commercial trawl industry.
Yet all this time MPI have been sitting on a report by their own scientists which makes it clear that the video evidence isn’t good enough for a successful prosecution.”
“There is a simple solution to the fish dumping problem – make commercial fishers land every fish they catch. That way no fish are wasted, we incentivise onshore value adding and processing, and the video evidence can tell if the fish are dumped.”
This approach is backed by the scientists commissioned by MPI to write the report.
Greenpeace believes it’s time for a wide-ranging inquiry into the relationship between MPI’s fisheries section and the commercial fishing industry.
A full copy of the leaked report is available at: http://greenpeace.nz/mpi_report